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Kingdom 5 – 08

There are actually times I debate whether I should continue to cover Kingdom, at least as a weekly.  As a rule I avoid letting popularity dictate my blogging decisions, but Kingdom is so singularly anonymous that I genuinely do feel as if I’m writing these posts for myself.  I usually get a couple of comments whenever I muse on this topic but the stats don’t lie, there just aren’t very many people watching or commenting about Kingdom in the English-speaking fandom.  Maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to just enjoy it and talk about it at the end of the year, when it inevitably makes the lists.

This is a helluva battle saga here, but that’s nothing new for Kingdom.  This season has been all combat and no politics (and thus no Zheng) so far, but that usually tends to balance out in the end.  The picture is pretty much as it appeared to be last week.  Huan Yi left the Fei Xin Force hanging out to dry.  They were indeed bait – useful (thanks to Li Mu, though I’m not sure how Huan would have known about that) in luring Qing She out of his web.  That’s all this was ever about – enticing Qing She to make the first move and leave his bubble of safety, and in the end it was surprisingly easy.

Ze Nuo does arrive on the scene, but it’s as reinforcements for Xin only in the most liberal sense of the word.  He’s there to take out Qing She while everyone’s attention is on crushing Xin.  And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids Ji Hui forces.  Ji Hui may be the hero of Liyan, but he knows his place in the Zhao hierarchy – Qing She is the most precious head in this army.  He heads up the hill to protect Qing She from Ze Nuo, and his two trusty sidekicks leave the Fei Xin and rush to defend him.  With that the Fei Xin, battered and bloodied, is left forgotten at the base of the hill, their role in these events seemingly over.

At this point everyone else is pretty much all in.  Hei Ying has sent her entire force after Ji Hui, sensing the crucial nature of the moment.  But Qing She manages to slip free thanks to Ji Hui’s heroism, and with that Huan Yi’s masterstroke appears to have failed.  But Xin is never one to accept being out of the center of attention.  Now ignored, he could have had the Fei Xin lick their wounds and recover, leaving the fighting to other units that hadn’t been stabbed in the back by Huan Yi.  Diao isn’t content to do that, suggesting an assault on the hill, but Xin has even grander plans.

If the whole purpose of their ordeal was to lure Qing She out of his web, all is lost if he manages to slither back into it.   Only one unit might have a chance to get Qing She before he does – the one everyone in the Zhao army has lost interest in.  Xin can never resist the lure of glory – and its role in climbing the ladder – and there can be no greater glory to be had in Heiyong than claiming Qing She’s head.  Liu Dong’s surprise arrival to engage the exhausted Fei Xin seems to put the kibosh on Xin’s plan, but Qing She isn’t the only general getting help from an unexpected source.

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